An ode to online writing

Where is it coming from? Some of it comes from professional journalists, writing for the websites of established publications or on their own blogs. But much of it – the great new addition to our writing and reading culture – comes from professionals in other fields who find the time, the motivation and the opportunity to write for anyone who cares to read. I am sorry that the internet gifted this practice with such an ugly name, “blogging”, but it is too late to change that now.

As a gross generalisation, academics make excellent bloggers, within and beyond their specialist fields. So, too, do aid workers, lawyers, musicians, doctors, economists, poets, financiers, engineers, publishers and computer scientists. They blog for pleasure; they blog for visibility within their field; they blog to raise their value and build their markets as authors and public speakers; they blog because their peers do.

Businessmen and politicians make the worst bloggers because they do not like to tell what they know, and telling what you know is the essence of blogging well. They also fear to be wrong; and, as Felix Salmon, Reuters’ finance blogger, insists and sometimes demonstrates: “If you are never wrong, you are never interesting”.

Very meta, this great piece of online writing about great pieces of online writing from Robert Cottrel, editor of the Browser, from which I've found many wonderful pieces of writing on the web. Some more:

My second contention as a professional reader is one that may seem self-evident in the world of blogging but also holds good across the whole universe of online writing and publishing: the writer is everything. The corollary of this also holds good: the publisher (with a few exceptions) is nothing.

A great read throughout, though I wonder if Cottrell will feature it in tomorrow's email newsletter from the Browser. I suspect he won't.